Elephant Hill. This trail had folks double-checking fuel tank range. I
brought along an extra two gallons of fuel for insurance (not needed).
We'll have a 63 mile trek from town to a private campground/general
store/gas pump that is open 9a to 6p. Fuel at "The Outpost" was priced
appropriately at $6/gallon. I took 4.3 for the 63 mile trek from town
(14.65MPG) into the 15 gallon tank. We aren't certain we'll be off of
the trail by 6pm so several of us topped off on the way to the trail.
We'll have about 11 miles from here to the trailhead and then 22 miles
on the trail. Fuel economy on the trail in 4-low is worse - I've tried
to calculate it and come out with about 10MPG for trail use.
Fuel concerns aside, this trail also needed National Park (Canyonlands, Needles District) entrance fee ($30) plus a no-charge trail reservation (only open 24 hours in advance). They did not run out of reservations so all of us were able to visit the trail. This trail is starting out as a costly trail not only in dollars but also in that it's about 1.5 hours from town.
The upside is that this is perhaps my favorite trail. It has a nice mix of obstacles and scenery and trail types. I'll look to come back again (possibly skipping the remote fuel stop - I should be able to do the full day on one tank of fuel with enough remaining at the end of the day).
|Heading south from Moab on US-191
|West on UT-211
|A nice valley area with trees - near Newspaper
|No stop this morning. I'll make a stop
|Making our way to get fuel at the Outpost.
|In the park, getting close to the trailhead
|The park limits groups to three vehicles with
a 30 minute space between groups. I and Trent and family are waiting
while James, Derek, and Udi head in first.
The trail starts out with decent obstacles - up one mountainside, cross over the top, then drop down the other side. We'll re-process this trail area on the way out.
|Udi & Madi
|Looking back at the trailhead. It's a popular
place for hiking groups to set out.
|A fair bit of the obstacles on the trail have
been "fixed" with concrete.
|Much of this climb has been cleaned up with
|Starting the drop down into the valley - trail
visible down there.
|This pitch will be the steepest for the day.
|This trail offers an oddity. Some vehicles
have too long of a wheelbase to navigate a turn on the shelf road so
there is one pitch designated to be driven by backing through it (about
100 yards of easy trail to back up).
|In reverse to the next turn area.
|Turn slightly around and head down the next
|Down in the valley.
|A simpler, easier obstacle.
Trent and family
|I'm enjoying the scenery.
|I don't know what this item is called - but
it's tight for some vehicles (scrapes on the left side)
|I won't have much concern fitting through.
The tires have 9psi of pressure - but scant little sidewall bulge.
|From our entrance trail, we'll hit somewhat of
a Y in the trail. Here we're wrapping up a portion of one-way-in to hit
the central north-south trail. We'll go to the south end for a
short-ish walk to a rock feature called "The Joint".
|Out of the noisy 4-low and into 2-high for a
quieter, quicker run.
|Another obstacle. We were rolling along in one
valley area to find the trail making a 90-degree right turn, flowing
through a notch in the tall wall and an immediate 90-degree left turn
(with reasonably sized rocks) to enter the next valley.
Trent and I have caught up to the group that was ahead of us.
|Wrapping up the z-turns looking at the next
|Udi getting a "jeep pic"
|Taking a 10/20 minute walk to some rock
|Some of the group (the first group) are
walking farther in and the rest of us will start driving to the north
end of the trail for a view of the confluence of the Green and Colorado
|Out from the hile back to the parking area.
The green jeep is the newest (temp license plate on it) with the light
blue CJ-5 to the right of it is the oldest (1970).
group of three is meeting another group of three. The park does not
wish vehicles driving on un-disturbed soil. One of our groups will back
up to a location where the other can pass. They backed up 0.1 miles. If
we backed up it would have been 0.4 to 0.5 miles. It was nice of'm to
process the backup.
|The Confluence Overlook
Green River to the left, Colorado right.
Click for a larger size
|Walking back to the parking area.
|Derek & Trent
I'm backing up to the next turn.
|The steep pitch with a bit of a step mid-way
|That pitch is steep.
|Lots-O-Concrete on the last pitch up
|:I'm "up top" having
processed the pitches up and will before long drive down to the
trailhead. The other two jeeps that were in the first group with me
have driven out to head to Moab. I'm in no rush and am awaiting the
remaining group of two. While waiting I positioned for a nice photo
stop, will chat with a ranger as he drives out for the day, and will
enjoy a curious group of three perfect paint and bodywork vehicles
heading in for a three night camping trip.
last of the three - perhaps the longest wheelbase of the group. The
driver said he had driven this trail ten years ago. All who saw them
question how well the paint and bodywork will look by the time the
trucks get off of the trail. There is no perfect trail vehicle - all
are compromises - though keeping paint and bodywork in good condition is a
task for some.
|The guy in the ahead vehicle said "This is an Extended Test Ride vehicle".
|Lots of spotting and slow progress with some bumping and grinding.
|Long wheelbase white truck backing down the segment.
|James and Udi & Madi coming out
down the first two pitches for the drop to the trailhead. There is a
large turn area between the two - no backing up needed here.